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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  September 7, 2010 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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thanks for joining us. tonight, buying influence and access in washington. some of the biggest names, democrats and republicans taking money unlimited amounts of money from big companies with business before congress. sound outrageous? what if i told you it is perfectly legal? we'll show you how it's done and how charities of all things play a part. we're naming names, keeping them honest. also tonight, new polling shows republicans cruising toward a big victory this fall. our campaign coverage kicks into high gear tonight. we'll take you to the front lines of the most expensive house race this year. do you know which one it is? michele bachmann. we'll takeou behind the scenes of her race. selling sex online, under pressure from laenforcement in many states, craigslist removes their adult services section saying they've been censored and unfairly targeted. we'll talk to the cnn
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correspondent who confronted him onthe ads and also jeffrey toobin on the legality of running them and the constitutionality of trying to stop them. we begin tonight with a surisi way that politicians had discovered they can look good and big companies have lened they can buy influence in washington. what is this legal loophole? we're talking about charities. at least two dozen charities according to "the new york times," set up by individual democrat and republican lawmakers. big name politicians who big companies want to be in bed with. let's be clear, these charities seem to do good work. they give out scholarships, fight cancer, give to local causes. why do so many big companies want to donate to little foundations that just happen to be setup by congressmen? you're about to find out. remember wn the democrats took over and promised the culture of corruption in d.c. was done? this is what nancy pelosi said back then. >> this all comes back to the american people. they have toave confidence that congress is here to work in the people's interest, not the
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special interests. they have to know, and i honestly believe, that you cann advance the people's agenda unless you drain the swamp that is washington, d.c. >> drain the swamp. she was referring to scandals like the one involving this guy, former house majority leader tom delay. congressman delay had a charity, the delay foundation for kids. and as one of the top republicans at the time, his foundation raked in big money from big corporate donors. many of which had business before the house. donations not subject to campaign finance limits and tax deductible to boot. despite all the handwringing and promises by democrats to change washington, it seems there are more and more congress people taking donations for charities. take a look at this, joe bacca, he's on the website of a california energy company, rentec. he's the one in the middle at the golf tournament. the charity is the joe bacca foundation. the charity allows him to get his name out there to potential
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voters. he seemed to be doing good work. the guys on the other side of him, by the way, in the picture are from rentec, sponsors of the golf tournament. just after the event congressman bacca's office sent this letter to the department of energy, lobbying them to approve loan guarantees that -- guess what -- rentec was seeking. coincidence? let's take anoer look. here's gop senator orrin hatch of utah. he helped establish a charity which holds a fund-raiser every august. for $20,000 they get to meet and schmooze with the senator himself. in 2008 and 2009 a drug company called watson pharmaceuticals ponied up the money, they were embroiled in a dispute with the federal trade commission. this year in senate hearings, mr. hatch went to bat for them. is that a coincidence? here's james clyburn, his scholarship foundation has a list of corporate sponsors too long to say. is it just a coincidence that all these huge companies really care about james clyburn's
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scholarship foundation? one of them comcast, which is trying to merge with nbc. another company donates to aelijah foundation in israel. this past june the fcc got this letter from the charity in support of the merger. we could go on and on. disclosure forms that corporate lobbyists have to submit under rules put in place in 2007 to help drain the swamp. guess what, those same rules bar the congressional officers who collect those forms from examining them to see if there complete and accurate. no one in congress is really checking. eric lipton is the pulitzer prize winning correspondent who broke this story in "the times." also with us, is former eight-term gop congressman, mickey edwards. currently the director of the aspen institute, rodel
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fellowships. appreciate both you being with us. eric, are these -- the charities are all legit, they seem to be doing,or the most part, good work. what is wrong with this? >> i think what it shows, is that washington is a creative place. there's billions of dollars at stake, these corporations have agendas they want to push, and they are constantly looking for ways they can work within the rules to influence members of congress. and they've discovered that one way is to give donations to charities that they have founded that they care about, and that impresses the members of congress, and there seems to be a corratiobetween those donations to those charities and the positions frequently that members of congress take. >> so what's in it for both sides. for the congressperson, besides just doing good work in their community -- it's another way of campaigning, really, it lets them get out there and get press coverage in a positive way, right? >> it serves a lot of purposes for the corporation. it's a tax deductible gift. they're supporting causes that are quite worthy. breast cancer, college
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scholarships. for the member of congress, joe bacca, for example, he has -- he gives -- there are joe bacca t-shirts, baseball caps for his foundation, and it's essentially a permanent campaign for him. so everyone to some extent is served. but there's a certain cynicism here, because i mean, here you have these companies, charity is about givi for the good of the cause. is it about pursuing your corporate agenda? and that's the thing i think -- that's the rub, is this really about their concern for these charitable causes? or is this about pushing their agenda in washington? >> is it a coincidence that all these big companies who have other forms of giving just happen to be giving large sums of money to little foundations set up by congress people who they are going to be ruling on issues that are of great interest to the companies? >> anderson, you know it's not a coincidence, it's not a coincidence at all. what happens is, the company that wants to get in good with
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somebody who either chairs a committee or is an important player in congress says here is a way that i can make that person identify with me. have a relationship with me. feel that i am somebody that shares their concerns, and when i call on them later, they're going to know me, they're going to know my family. we've built up a relationship over time. and i'm going to ask them to help me, if there's no reason not to, sure, they're glad to come on board, and they're glad to say, you know, you're a friend, how can i do this for you? and it's not insidious in terms of being malevolent, it's way of trying to build that relationship between a member and a funder to the mutual advantage of both. and what's left out is the interests of the citizens. >> it is buying influence? >> it is absolutely buying influence. >> there are direct links between these companies that are donating and issues it this they -- that these congress people are going to be ruling
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on, correct? >> i think what's interesting is to look at -- lisa markowski, senator from alaska, her family set up this foundation. but it's all oil companies that are donating. she's the ranking repuican on the senate energy committee that makes decisions about, will they allow offshore drilling in alaska? joe bacca's donors include koeng ka cola and mcdonald's that don't want to see regulation on what they can serve in the vending machines in schools. jim clyburn is involved in nuclear issues. and the nuclear companies are givi great deals of money to him. j. rockefeller is chairman of the commerce committee, it's the airlines, the telecommunications companies. so there's a correlation that seems to be consistent in these donations that again makes you wonder, is this about polics or is this about charity? >> so it's legal, congressman? it's borderline on the ethics department. how do you stop it? how do you chae it?
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>> wel whayou have to do is a couple things. partly what you're doing here, what eric has done in "the new york times." but you also have to do some changing of the ethics rules, for example, if it is not possible now to look at the ethics rules and say, i cannot take money directly or indirectly from somebody who has concerns in front of my committee, then the rules need to be changed. it's easy enough to do. the fact is, it's not just a matter of perception. it's a matter of having other factors come into play when a member of congress is deciding what to do for a company, what to do for a friend. and e public interest may or may not be served. the ethics rules can be changed if -- if nancy wants to drain the swamp, she's in a position, she's speaker, she can get the rules of the ethics committee changed and drain the swamp. >> eric, i don't want to seem too cynical, but if congress people wanted to raise money for charities, there are plenty of charities out there.
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they don't have to necessarily crow ate their own? >> true. and there are donations made in honor of members of congress, that are completely unrelated to those individual members of congress. that does happen as well. you know, they're -- >> if you're just raising money for some other charity, it doesn't have your name on it, it's not as big a benefit to you? >> it's true. you can't then have the -- you n't present the check as many of these members of congress, they collect the funds and then present the check and they get a double bonus, because they can appear to be sort the hero for the community that's delivering more money. >> eric, your reporting on this continues to be outstanding, and you focused on this story in the new york times in great detail today. eric lipton, appreciate you being with us. congressman mickey edwards as well. >> thank you. let us know what you think about this during the live which the right now. coming up, election season kicking into high gear, new evidence of a big wave for republicans. behind the scenes of the most expensive house race this year.
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do you know which one it is? michele bachmann running hard. hardly talking to reporters her campaign considers risky. a strategy we're seeing more and more of this year. we'll talk about that ahead. also later, why craigslist took down the adults ises ads this weekend. is it being censored as they claim on its site? should prostitution allowed? or should prostitutes be allowed to sell sex online? we iestigate ahead. . this malibu is sharp, has great mileage and offers onstar. the hundred thousand mile powertrain warranty caught my attention. it's the chevrolet summer event, which means the only thing left to decide is who drives it home. me! her. me! qualified lessees now get a low mileage lease on this malibu ls, a consumers digest best buy, for around $199 a month. call for details. the switch begins at
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that's why i love quicken loans! ♪ with midterm elections fast approaching, i think you should know how the campaigns are going behind the scenes. we begin with michele bachmann. she's one of the most visible, powerful and polarizing members of congress. she's been serving minnesota since 2006. the mother of five kids and born again christian. she's become a champion of conservative values. far cry from the launch of her political career dring the jimmy carter campaign. she's raised millions trying to defeat her incumbent challenger. here's gary tuchman. >> reporter: no doubt you've heard micle bachmann, she's a hero of the tea party. but a villain to my in the political left. and some in the center for that matter. no middle ground for her, that's why bachmann wants her own show.
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and at this moment she's in a hurry. >> we have to speed it up, or we'll be late. >> reporter: she'll be speeding for the next eight weeks until the election. not a single moment in this year's most expensive congressional campaign will be squandered. chances are you have not heard of her opponent, tarryl clark, who is already at today's battleground, the state fair. the minnesota state fair is a huge deal in this state. high profile politicians running for office don't dare miss it. >> we've got to speed up. we're on in two minutes. >> we're on in two minutes? >> reporter: for bachmann running the show means spending her time with those she knows she can exclusively count on. they love her, she loves them. right now she's rushing to be a guest on a christian radio station. >> i believe that life is from conception until natural death. and so i want to respect life at every stage. >> reporter: michele bachmann spent a lot of time at this ir over the years, she and her husband raised five children and 23 foster children. that's right, 23.
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they weren't all in the house at the same time, but it's quite the accomplishment. they sent their foster children to public school, and in many occasions they didn't like what their children were learning there. so michele bachmann made the decision to run for school board. she lost the election, but a political career was born. her sense of right and wrong would evolve into an unflinching convtion. she was right and they were wrong, and that's when she began speeding ahead, right or wrong, with us or not with us. >> hi, how are you? thank you. >> reporter: speed walking in heels through political mud, she gives as much as she gets. next stop, a national conservative radio talk show, where she'll serve up more red meat for her core. we are right. the president andp of washington are desperately wrong. >> he's governed as a far left liberal. that's what the american people are opposing. >> this is where i love to go. it's so much fun. >> reporter: the american people she's absolutely certain she speaks for them, because she says god called her to run for
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congress. rushing for the media outlets that transmit her views without question as priority, for members of the press who may ask some harder questions, different treatment. >> we're not taking those questions today. thank you. >> reporter: the bachmann campaign thinks there are many in the news media out to get her. for years she's been a guest on this show. >> thiss the jason lewis show, america's mr. right on radio free america. >> reporter: jason lewis is one of theeople who michele bachmann will talk to and she's talked to him for many years. >> you don't need the gatekeepers any more, the word's going to get out there. and it's not the walter cronkite era any more. we are the gatekeepers of th media, and if you don't do the interview at "the new york times" or cbs, you are stifled. it's not the case any more. >> reporter: her conservative views are lock step with the tea party. it's why she went to glenn beck's rally in washington.
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she's carrying the flag for the tea party nationally and losing touch with minnesota. bachmann is now emphasizing taxes and the economy. this is her latest campaign spot. >> i know, i know, it's state fair time, and you don't want to hear about politics. but while you're at the fair, you should know that tarryl clark here voted to raise taxes on your corn dog, and your deep fried bacon, and your beer. >> reporter: tarryl clark says the ad is very misleading, she voted to give the residents of minnesota the right to decide themselves if they wanted tax increases. she did not vote herself to raise their taxes. do you think she's a fair campaigner? >> i think she has her own way of doing things. which is very much out of the karl rove playbook. i've never seen her do anything else. >> reporter: michele bachmann stands by her ad and eventually did agree to talk to me. but only two questions. >> we're polar opposites, she's voted for every big increase spending bill there is. >> reporter: the polls show bachmann in front. the clark forces say they have
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polls showing they're within single digits. and they have momentum. the bachmann party won't tell us what their numbers are, they just say they're strong. >> i don't take it for granted. i don't take any election for granted. so thank you. >> reporter: bachmann is speeding off again, she will ignore those who do not agree with her. >> you are insane, lady. she's crazy. could anybody believe the crap that comes out of her mouth? >> reporter: in search of those who do. before the day ends, she will do more interviews with people she trusts, people who won't challenge what she has to say. for michele bachmann this is a righteous cae. gary tuchman, st. paul, minnesota. kicking off our 2010 campaign coverage tonight, john king withcnn's election express in pittsburgh. david gergen, john ridley and gop strategist ed rollins. john king, you like to get interviews with a lot of politicians, it seems we're seeing more and more people only talking to outlets they believe are on their side. jan brewer is another prime example of someone doing this
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very same thing down in arizona. >> especially as you get closer and closer to the election, anderson, you will find that to be true. i talked to michele bachmann several times in washington. she came on the program once. when you get closer to election day, what are you trying to do? you're trying to identify your most ardent supporters, trying to turn them out, and trying to stay away from controversy. if you think your race is tough, all politicians -- the bachmann race is potentially competitive. she's going try to preach to the choir and get support as much as she can. you'll see it on the democratic side too, she's not alone. >> it's definitely on all sides, is it also something about a lot of new people entering in these races, a lot of tea party activists entering these races who don't want tfind themselves in a challenging situation? >> sure, there's a whole new constituency out there, it's called the tea party. many were pro supporters in '92. many new candidates running against incumbents, they're untested.
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to a certain extent, as john said, you want to talk to people -- this is not about converting this is about energizing. and so you talk to people that are basically supportive of you. and there's so many vehicles today that will do that, both internet, talk radio, television, what have you. the reality is, network television doesn't necessarily do it for you. >> to the point of someone in the bachmann campaign -- to that radio guy you interviewed, he's sort of right. there aren't any gatekeepers, and everything you say gets out there one form or another. >> it certainly does, and you make one little mistake and you'll be amplified so quickly now through the internet. that people are extra careful. this whole trend of candidates no longer talking to the press, we've seen that this the presidential politics for the last two or three campaigns too, where candidates g isolated from the press. >> we're going to talk to john ridley in a moment, we have to take a quick break, our coverage continues. after the break, we have new polling, pretty grim news for democrats to talk about. also ahead, breaking news, hermine gaining strength coming ashore. we'll bring you the late word
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continuing our political conversation, yu've heard the phrase, pick your poison. new polling shows that 49% of americans have an unfavorable view of democrats, and 49% have the same view of republicans. when it comes to actually voting, the same poll suggests people are choosing between the two and choosing republican by a seven point margin. 52% of americans say they prefer a republican to a democrat in their congressional district. the republican margin is bigger nearly two to one among independents. back with our panel. john ridley, a lot of democrats have said e tea party is going
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to put a lot of races back in play for the democrats. but is that just wishful thinking on their part? >> i think it will put some into play. you can see in nevada where harry reid and sharron angle -- harry reid was dead, buried and gone. now he has an opportunity. i don't think the democrats can assume every one of these races can be put on -- look, they're the extreme, you can't vote for these individuals. clearly, the numbers you read, pele are frustrated, angry. they don't like either party. they tried the democrats for a while, they're going back to the republicans, which is the problem with a two-party system, you don't really have much of a place to go. >> the president is on a big push all this week about jobs. people seem to blame republicans over democrats for our current economic problems. but despite that, there's a seven-point lead the republicans have in national races. >> tt's causthe democrats are in charge. when you're frustrated you take it out on the party in power. the president's power almost always historically suffers in the midterm election, especially the first one.
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the president's a democrat right now. the democrats have run congress for the past few years so they're in charge, you're right, the number blaming the republicans, the percentage has gone up a little bit, which would suggest all the democratic ads around the country that people are starting to see, and the president's message is breaking through a little bit. the democratic number for blame has gone up too. american people blame both parties, maybe the republicans a little more, but there are a lot more democratic incumbents on the ballot in eight weeks. history tells you, the party in power gets punished. >> you know, david, it's interesting, democrats are in even worse shape now than they were at the beginning of the summer. do you think things are always going to be this bad, given the economy? or were there missed opportunities politically speaking for the democrats? >> it's odd, anderson, the last two summers, the democrats have lost control of the message over the summer. they did it last year with the town halls and the health care debate. and this year they've lost control of the argument over the economy. and that's why you see democrats
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now starting to localize races instead of making national arguments in many o these races. while the republicans want to nationalize this. i think that overall, the democrats have lost ground over the last 60 days, you take -- you go back to the tea party, rand paul in west virginia, we thought at one time maybe he would be in trouble. he's opened up a double-digit lead, there's a tea party candidate. >> there's another great example of not talking -- after he gave that controversial interview to rachel maddow, he learned -- there was suddenly radio silence from him. >> he learned and every one of these tea party candidates have taken a lead. the only one that's in a real race is sharron angle and she's the flakiest of them all, and she's basically dead even with reid. the bottom line here is whose side turns out? and i think the issue -- the democrats have pushed the health care, they pushed the $850 billion deficit. both those are very unpopular, both of them don't think they've worked. if you have a choice between
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someone you are not sure of and someone you are sure is going to make the situation worse for you and your kids, you're going to vote for the republican. >> i wanted to play something the president said today in a speech. talking about john boehner, let's listen. >> and the republican who thinks he's going to take over as speaker -- [ crowd booing ] >> i'm just saying it's his opinion. he's entitled to his opinion when he was asked about this, he dismissed those jobs as government jobs that weren't rth saving. >> john king, does it make sense for president obama to be talking about john boehner? >> it mas see for him to be talking about john boehner if he sees evidence, and he has plenty of it, anderson, that his side is not motivated, not energized. he's trying to raise the stakes for those union worrs right behind him. i was looking at polling data tonight that says 33%, one third of union households plan to vote
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republican for congress this year. if that happens, that's re-creating -- ask ed rollins about the old reaganemocrats. those are blue collar workers of the 1980s, who decided their party had become too liberal. was wasting their tax dollars, spending too much money. if that happens to this president this year, if 33% union households vote republican for congress, then john boehner will be the next speaker of the house. >> john boehner is not known by the country. the president elevates him. what the president has done is become the ultimate partisan, i promise you over the next eight weeks, his negatives are going to get higher and he will diminish himself and his party. >> you both have seen in white houses, a president who going into midterm elections faces a tough battlend different presidents react differently, jimmy carter, ronald reagan, bill clinton. how do you think -- if the house goes back to republican, david, let's start with you, how do you think that affects president obama? what changes? >> well, in the first place,
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he's not going to be able to get his liberal agenda through. that's going to be finished. the question is, he's going to come to the middle and whether republicans will do that, we can actually get some real progress, not only on jobs, but on the deficits. i think it could be serious gridlock or we could go the other way, i don't think we know the answer to that yet. i think if he demonizes john boehner, it could be harder to work with him. >> john ridley, you had said before it could make president obama go back to the center? >> well, i think it has to make him go back to center, i agree with david on that. and i also agree that -- there's a possibility there's going to be a real narrow margin, a real even split between the house and senate post midterm. i can't see anything but gridlock going on. these are groups that don't get along, they've been fighting. there's a lot of fight ahead about what to do with this economy.
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and quite frankly, i'd rather see more of a republican majority to give them an opportunity to do what they're going to do, make president obama the arbitrator with the veto, and see where the country goes. a narrow majority, that's a little nerve wracking for me, personally. >> i'm sorry. we have to leave it there. thank you for joining me. we'll ntinue this as our political coverage continues all the way through to the midterms. hundreds of political ads on the airwaves we know you don't want to sit through them all or most of them. there are some you should know about. some eye-opening messages and a lot of money being spent. tom foreman joins us. tom? >> anderson, you talked about it at the top of tonight's program. all the big money that's going out there corrupting the political process, that's always a complaint. keeping them honest, we are witnessing just what you said, ads on track to break all of the records this fall. and we're seeing wild messages as everybody elbows for attention, including one from florida republican mike weinstein. take a look. ♪
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♪ mike mike weinstein ♪ working hard for you and me ♪ representing district 19 ♪ oh, mike mike mike mike weinstein ♪ >> it's really kind of catchy in its own way. we noticed some real trends, and the first one is guns. all over republican and democratic candidates are toting firearms, clearly they're selling a message of self-reliance, americana. and an implied battle against washington. we wanted to show you this one. look at pam gorman, a congressional candidate in arizona. >> this year a lot of folks think this is our best shot at changing congress. of course, that all depends on the caliber of our candidates. meet pamela gorman, candidate for congress in arizona three. conservative christian and a pretty fair shot. >> maybe not.
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she was beaten by the -- in the republican primary. she needs to work on that more, but that's the kind of message we're seeing out there on guns. >> mike weinstein, i thought the guy singing was mike weinstein. >> no. >> there's quite a dichotomy between them. >> kind of jarring, he's just sitting the. >> yeah, right. obviously, the democrats are facing the sharpest fire in this campaign. how are they responding in terms of ads? >> they're responding with political amnesia, anderson. basically what they're doing, they're acting like their party is not in charge in d.c. or that they don't know they belong to that party. think about this, more than 200 congressional democrats voted for health care reform, and we have not been able to find one ad since april mentioning that in their political ads. instead, many like joe donnelly in the swing state of indiana are running ads at don't even mention he's a democrat. look at that. >> they're at it again, smearing joe donnelly. the facts, joe donnelly is
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indiana's most independent congressman. joe opposed president bush's attempts to privatize social security and voted against nancy pelosi's energy tax on hoosier families. joe donnelly is the independent voice that protects hoosier families. >> he votes the democratic party line almost 87% of the time. that's a little low for the democrats, but hardly middle of the road. >> it was interesting in that ad, independent seemed to be the key word there, leading you to believe he's an independent. republicans not raising the george bush banner either? >> no, not at all. he's a ghost in this campaign. and the republicans, who voters stildon't like much, want to keep it that way. they're very happy to mention president obama, because they think he is a milestone around the neck of every democratic candidate, like the contender for governor in georgia. >> one man ruled with an iron fist, giving us politics and laws we did not want.
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and did not support. think we're talking about barack obama? we're not. we're talking about former governor roy barnes. can georgia really afford more of the same? >> in fact, the democrat barnes is running away from the president and openly criticizing some of his white house policies, that's a little flavor of what's going on out there right now. it's unbelievable, but we're going to keep an eye on all of these ads from here on out. fact checking the claims, keeping them honest. >> political amnesia, i like the term. tom, thanks. breaking news, the latest on hermine coming ashore right now. jacqui jeras is tracking it for us. also ahead, the adult services section on craigslist gone this weekend. attorneys general in 17 states target craigslist.
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breaking news to bring you up to speed on, hermine made landfall just a short time ago, winds of just 65 miles an hour. came ashore 30 miles south of the texas/mexico border. texas has been feeling the impact of the storms outer bands all day. jacqui jeras joins me now with the latest. >> the center of circulation is over land, it's weakening. already windses are back down to
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60 miles an hour. the problem that we have tonight is that people are going to bed and we still have a big threat of getting damaging nds across southern parts of texas. power outages, trees down are a go possibility. and you can see the red box, that's a tornado watch. any time we get a land falling tropical system in the right-hand side of the storm, we have a threat for tornados. that's going to be ongoing for tonight. in addition to that, some flash flooding can be expected. we're already getting reports on south padre island and the brownsville area that rain has fallen. the feeder bands are the ones we'll be watching for this rotation. we think texas for the most part can handle this storm tonight. but what happens over the next 24 to 48 hours is of concern. the track of hermine is going to bring it up and take a ride all the way across the lone star state and make its way up to the north. locally heavy rainfall can be expected as much as 10 inches. you can see the flood watches in effect from the red river valley all the way down to the gulf coast. we could see locally heavy rainshowers for corpus christi tonight and major river flooding
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may be possible for many rivers in central texas by the middle of the week. even though the storm is winding down, the flood situation will be ramping back up. anderson? >> jacqui jeras, thanks. isha joins us with a 360 bulletin. isha? >> in northern chile 33 miners trapped deep under ground appear to be doing well. a set back in one of the rescue plans. problems with a cable, temporarily stopped one of two drilling operationunderway to reach the men. they've been confined to an area about the size of a studio apartment for more than a month. joran van der sloot has told a dutch newspaper that he extorted money from natalee holloway's family because he wanted to get back at them for making his life tough. his lawyer said his comments may have been mistranslated. van der sloot the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of holloway, an american teenager who vanished in aruba,
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he's facing separate murder charges in peru. he was charged with extortion in the u.s. in june after an fbi sting. and the daredevil known as skyscraper man has struck again. kgo is reporting that dan goodwin climbed a 58 floor millennium building in downtown san francisco in just over three hours. after reaching the top he was arrested. now -- >> what's the point? >> that's what i was going to ask you. i mean, i know, i'm sure you figured out by now i'm not from these parts. >> yeah. >> just a thought. i needed you to shed some light. >> would this go on in the u.k. >> no, because in the u.k. if you're in your 50s, you would be siing by the fire reading dickens and drinking hot cocoa. >> hot cocoa. >> and dickens, don't forget the dickens. >> yes, dickens. thanks. we'll check in with you a little later on. still ahead, a major new twist in the craigslist sex ad crackdown. under pressure from 17 state attorneys general, they say
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they're being nsored and unfairly targeted. we'll talk to jeffrey toobin as the cnn reporter whose been following the story. and the chur that plans to burn korans on 911. . getaway twice as fast. we get double miles every time we use our card. no matter what we're buying. and since double miles add up quick... romans! get em! [ garth ] ...we can bring the whole gang. [ sheep bleats ] it's hard to beat double miles. whoa -- he's on the list. but we're with him. [ male announcer ] introducing the venture card from capital one with double miles on every purchase every day. go to [ iistinct shouting ] what's in your wallet? everythinge do it's beln it's a yea 50 milpromise. wi complenta schemaintee and /7 roaide assiance. beusen y ce the st bif, faaronar
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in crime & punishment. a new development in a story we've been covering for weeks. over the weekend craigslist shut down its adult services section slapping a censored label on its website. they say they're being unfairly targeted. they point out like plenty of other websites that have escort ads and classified sections, and don't do any screenings at all.
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they do screen ads. craigslist says it screens all adult services ads appearing on their website to screen for underaged prostitution or illegal activities. it's believed that adult service ads makes up a third of craigslist revenue a year. amber lyon wanted to see how careful craigslist was monitoring their adult services section. she placed an ad under the adult services section. her cell phone soon began ringing with calls from interested men. she found plenty of ads which appeared to be selling sell. next she tracked down craig newmark anasked him how all these ads got posted despite the company's assurances that they screen them. he d not really respond and cut the conversation short. and later complained she ambushed him unfairly. then last month, 17 states attorney general demanded craigslist close its adult services section down. saying it helped facilitate prostitution and the trafficking of women. as we said, this weekend they in fact shut it down. amber lyon joins me now along with jeffrey toobin. amber, you've been reporting on
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this a lot. craigslist has not appreciated your reporting on this. >> no. >> to me this boils down to, if craigslist had simply said, yes, we have escort ads just like every classified -- lots of classified sections in newspapers and plenty of other websites out there, there's nothing wrong with it, it's not illegal for us to have these ads, there would be no story. right? >> that's right. the whole point was to keep craigslist honest. they were making bold statements to the public saying they were tirelessly screening these ads, walkg along with law enforcement and key nonprofits. we put a check on what they were saying they were doing. not focusing on their legal responsibility in this story. and we found that in some cases what they said they were doing and reality just weren't matching up. >> why couldn't they just screen every ad? i understand they make a lot money, there's only like 30 something employees. do they just not have enough
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employees to screen? >> that's what some victim's advocates are saying. craigslist should take some of this money they're making, tens of millions of dollars off these ads and hire more people. focus a little more on this, another thing victims' advocates and these attorneys general are saying they don't feel that craigslist is working tirelessly with key nonprofits to come up with solutions. you saw the ad we posted. we put code words in there, sweet, innocent, new girl. clear code words that would indicate that could be a minor, yet those words were able to get through on craigslist's site. >> i would argue with that saying plenty of people are going to say they're sweet and innocent in a personal ad. that doesn't mean the person is under age. well, according to these victims' advocates this is a land of code words. they're not going to come out and say, this is an underaged girl offering sex. or i'm offerinx, y and z. all these ads are written in code words and it's important for craigslist to be paying
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attention to those words when they're screening these ads. >> craigslist says we do more than any other website out there. all these attorneys generals are complaining, but they're not complaining about their local paper which has classified escort ads? >> they have a point. but it doesn't make what they're doing right. the fact that other people may be profiting from this business. the fact is, craigslist is profiting from it too, because they're a national -- a big national name -- >> they say they're only charging because law eorcement asked them to in order to limit access to the site. >> that's probably true. thatas part of their -- >> had they just said, yeah, we have escort ads, so does everybody else, legally they would be fine. >> exactly. >> there wouldn't be a story. >> a lot of the situation is because the way the law is set up now, the internet as far as this is concerned is treated much like the phone company.
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in the sense that if a john and a hooker set up a transaction through the telephone, nobody thinks verizon or at&t is liable for the transaction. the law makes internet service providers and websites like the phone company there, they are just a cutout and not legally liable. but craigslist decided to take on this responsibility and that's where the problem started. >> are they being punished for -- are they being unfairly targeted? >> i don't think it's unfairly. these attorney generals are using the power of embarrassment, the power of moral persuasion to get craigslist to change its behavior. if craigslist really wanted to force them to sue, which they haven't done. the attorneys general might well lose. >> now, others -- i mean, craigslist has raised questions about some of these victims' advocates, who you talked to, amber, saying there's huge amounts of child prostitution on line. do we know anything about actual
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numbers of children who have have been trafficked on craigslist or on other sites? >> we did get some new figures, for the national center for missing and exploited children. they say since 2006 they have been able to rescue 54 missing children just by comparing the photos on the missing person's ad to the photos on the sex ads on the craigslist adulservices section, formerly the erotic services section. this is happening, but it is hard to prove. >> a lot of those years are before craigslist said they started -- i think it was in 2009 they said they were actually starting to monitor, so it's really only in the last year or two, they say they made the promise they've been monitoring, right? >> yeah, that is correct, anderson. >> so we have a text 360 question from an anonymous viewer in louisiana. they write, what's the point in replacing the link with
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censored, why not remove all traces of the former link? have they commented on why they changed the name to censored? >> they haven't commented to us. about the reasoning behind this. when you speak to the attorneys general and some other groups, they say they're trying to make a statement here. they feel they're being unfairly targeted and what they're doing is not illegal, and they want to protect their first amendment rights here, anderson. >> it's an interesting discussion -- >> first of all, they're not being censored, they're censoring themselves. the government didn't tell th them -- the government has done nothing here but express disapproval. that's not censorship. >> it's an interesting story, we'll continue to follow it. let us know what you think and join the live chat at amber lyon, appreciate the reporting. jeffrey toobin as well. what general petraeus says about a church that plans to burn koran's on september 11th. plus, something you don't see every day. a killer shark caught in a river.
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a number of other stories, we're following, isha joins us again with a 360 news bulletin. >> thanks anderson. the general in afghanistan is criticizing a church's promise to burn the koran on september 11th, the ninth anniversary the terrorist attacks t